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J Allied Health. 2019 Spring;48(1):72-75.

Death and Dying: Tools to Help Respiratory Therapists Handle Frequent Exposure to End of Life Care.

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Respiratory Care Program, Jefferson Community and Technical College, 110 W. Chestnut St., Office 480, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. Tel 502-292-9183.


Education and recognition of death anxiety are important for respiratory therapists. A vital component of respiratory therapy is managing mechanical ventilation and dealing with death and dying. For most institutions, respiratory therapy is a vital component of the rapid response team, code team, and trauma team. Removal of mechanical ventilation is a duty primarily bestowed upon the respiratory therapist. Exposure to death, on a frequent basis, can take an emotional toll and lead to burnout, stress, and increased turnover. Managers and leaders in the hospital must make efforts to provide counseling and education to support respiratory therapists and their ongoing exposure to death and dying. This paper examines coping mechanisms for physicians and paramedics, resulting in tools that can be used to provide support to the respiratory therapist.


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